Pretty Lights’ newest album, A Color Map of the Sun, just dropped and let me be the first to say that this is one high quality, groove pumping, tastefully produced record. The progression of the album makes the listener feel like they are on a journey through the human condition, experiencing every emotion possible through their spiral down the rabbit hole.
This album was made for vinyl with vinyl produced by Pretty Lights. In fact, it comes with a whole extra disc of bonus material that is just that: The raw vinyl cuts that were used to produce the tracks found on Color Map. Each cut was orchestrated by Colorado’s very own home grown, Derek Vincent Smith, the mastermind behind Pretty Lights, who collaborated with dozens of musicians from around the country to produce one of his most soulful pieces of art to date. If you dig music, you better dig soul music, and A Color Map of the Sun smacks you across the face with soul.
The album’s first two tracks, “Color of My Soul” and “Press Pause” pack a soulful punch before Color Map really starts to throw down his bone moving grooves with “Let’s Get Busy.” The combination of both horns as strings brings layer upon layer of energy and purpose to almost every track on the album, yet the snap crackle pop of the vinyl brings the element of raw sound full circle.
While at times the album seems to lack the hip-hop references we are so used to hearing at a PL live show, it is almost as if A Color Map of the Sun is a nod to hip hop’s roots. In fact, too literal of a hip hop reference could have damaged the integrity of an album so full of raw musical expression. Pretty Lights seems determined to show the good, bad, and downright scary side of his musical aesthetic. ”Go Down Sunshine”, “So Bright”, and “Dead Wrong” explore the depths of PL’s dark side. On the other end of the spectrum, “Yellow Bird” and “One Day They’ll Know” have a more relaxed, ethereal sound that seems to provide balance to the album. It takes guts to express these types of musical emotions and it is definitely not commonplace within this genre of music.
As with all of Pretty Lights tracks, you can download the entire album for free or it can be purchased through iTunes or Prettylightsmusic.com. As an independent artist, he has found great success by making his music available to everyone for free over the years (with only the suggestion of donation.) In order to provide a bit more incentive for fans to pay, PL is offering a variety pack of goodies in order to entice fans to open their checkbooks. Color Map vinyls, pins, t-shirts, bonus tracks, and a neat little book all about the album have nearly all sold out through pre order. Luckily, there is more swag being produced and record stores are currently stocking their shelves with LP, but I am sure they won’t last long.
PL made a sweet little video on the making of A Color Map of the Sun you can check out here!!!
The PL YouTube channel also has music videos for every track on the album, along with visual art to emphasize the overall concept that is “Pretty Lights.” Check out the playlist here.
After 4 days of some of the best music of my life, it has come to an end. Looking back, I had one of the best times of my life. Sure, the weather was nasty, but there’s nothing you can do to change that. I played football growing up and I learned real quick that you just gotta play through the shitty weather. For Scamp, it was the same mindset. Are you really gonna let the rain ruin your day? I didn’t spend 6 hours in a car to come let my experience get ruined by something out of my control, so hey, I just had a good time. The weather is what it is, so you just gotta embrace it and move on. The rain turned the fields into one large mud puddle, ruining my shoes, socks, and jeans, but I worse things could have happened. For example, the music could have sucked. But the music blew my mind and that’s the only thing that matters. Looking back, here are my Top 5 performances from my weekend:
1. Trey Anastasio Band 2. The Everyone Orchestra 3. Umphrey’s McGee – Saturday 4. Umphrey’s McGee – Friday 5. Umphrey’s McGee – Sunday.
Yeah, I listed all 3 UM shows. That’s because they’re SO great. I also want to shout out Roster McCabe’s Pre-Party show on Thursday night as another great performance.
Looking back, I just wish I saw more concerts! I am bummed to admit I missed out on Sound Tribe, Yonder Mountain, Papdosio, Keller Williams, and EOTO, and also missed portions of a couple moe. and UM sets and Big Gigantic. Just too many overlapping music! Also, the camp grounds were very dark at night. Some areas were lit by hanging neon lights, why can’t they just have that all throughout? I think it’d be better if the camp grounds were also more organized into grids or squares, and section it off a little bit more so they are easier to navigate.
Although Summer Camp has come and gone, the summer is just getting started. I’m looking forward to Roster McCabe swinging through La Crosse, Wisconsin, in a couple weeks, Summerfest next month – lineup includes Tom Petty, Pretty Lights, Umphrey’s, and Dark Star Orchestra, 3 nights of Phish in July, and 2 nights of the Allman Brothers Band in August. Be on the lookout for more blogs from me from all the shows I check out the rest of the summer!
3 days down and only 1 more to go!
Heres a little recap for Saturday.
Because I live so close to the festival, when I woke up, my girlfriend and I went to our house to shower and get some good eats before making our way back to Three Sisters. When we got back, we went to our campsite to get ready. Headed to Moonshine to see how funky we could get at Conspirator. Just like we thought it was pretty heady. The bass raddled my noggin like a freight train. It was super furious.
After Conspirator we headed back to the campsite to rest a little and made our way to the vibe tent for Manic Focus. We were there for about 20 minutes and realized we were about to miss Diplo back at Moonshine. We hurried over and stumbled all over in the mud.
During Diplo’s set we all got as low to the ground as possible and then BOOM, Thousands of people jumped in the air and started breaking it down. Bass.. BASS EVERYWHERE. I thought conspirator had some heavy bass but wow DIPLO layed it DOWN.
After Diplo we walked around the festival for awhile till thievery corp. Ended up forgeting about thievery corp which I was super upset about. But realized I had Griz, Umphreys, and Gramatik to go see.
After all three shows I was pretty tired and beat so we went back to the campsite and started to mess around with people. Told everyone who walked by that they dropped their pocket and some laughed some really thought they dropped their pockets and others took it a little to serious.
After the jokes, before bed we found someone that was going to do a belly flop for us by my campsite right into a giant puddle. He was a little drunk and had the balls to do it. $20 really does go a long way with some people.
Here’s the video because my words just don’t do any justice to it!
Until next time,
Happy Scamping everyone!
Sunday is finally here after Saturday’s bitter cold rain. A majority of my time was spent inside my tent or the Vibe tent. There is a top layer of slop for about 6 inches on every trail in here but spirits are still high. The more serious of the wookie’s are still rolling with a no shoe policy, which isn’t for the faint of heart.
I was able to catch The Werks on the Campfire stage that brought in a crowd of about 200 people despite the conditions. Around five-thirty I went to the vibe tent to sit down and warm up. It started raining and being stuck there, we waited for the Dopapod show from 5:30 till 8:00 p.m. They did the job and the crowd wanted more so they came back out for a ten-minute encore.
The real experience came later in the Red Barn when STS9, Big Gigantic, Griz, and Gramatik took the stage. The collaboration started off dirty when STS9 brought Dominick Lalli up on stage to jam for the set which was absolutely beautiful. Then Griz, Gramatik, and Big Gigantic hit the stage bringing filthy bass music with jamming overtones of the saxaphone. They did a very unique version of Thrift Shop and I Need a Dolla again but with more variation.
Today I am looking onward to the Avett Brothers, Trey Anastasio, Future Rock, and Moe’s last show for Summer Camp. I will also be interviewing DJ Solo and shooting at all of those shows so be sure to check them out! Thanks Summer Camp for another legit year that bad weather can’t ruin.
Friday is now in the books. The weather was sunny, the night was cold, and the people were alive on the first official day of Summer Camp. Overnight it seemed there was a spontaneous combustion of tents filling every single inch of real estate in the woods. Hippie traps were plentiful.
Seeing a band you like for the first time is always exciting, especially when you see three or four big acts in the same day. For Friday’s list of sets I got to see STS9, Paper Diamond, and Yonder Mountain String Band. Sound Tribe threw in a nice variation of Scheme, my favorite song off their newest album, on their Friday Set. Paper Diamond has been an artist on my musical hit list ever since his album Levitate.
After the late night show things got interesting. A random encounter brought by a group of people introducing their “pet cooler” and they tried to convince the group the cooler was well behaved, potty-trained, and definitely a people-dog (cooler). This has happened to me three years in a row right by the campfire stage and it is funny every time. After meeting a few family “pets” we walked through the woods where suddenly tug of war competitions would come out of nowhere within a sea of people.
Lastly I just wanted to say that this year’s scheduling has the least amount of conflict I have seen through my festival experience. Last year it happened often with artists like Primus and Zeds Dead so it is nice when you don’t have to sacrifice experience.
Year after year moe. and Umphrey’s McGee have anchored Summer Camp’s schedule, but the addition of Trey Band has made this year’s lineup one of the most scene oriented to date, not to mention Yonder, Keller, STS9, plus Medeski, Martin, and Wood. The only other bands that could possibly fall into this topnotch jamband echelon would be Cheese or Bisco, so the good people at Summer Camp HQ decided that EOTO and Conspirator would have to fill that void. I have seen all these acts multiple times, most of them at Summer Camp, and they are the reason I fell in love with the scene so many years ago.
In case you are living under a rock, Cornmeal’s Saturday show will be one of the most talked about sets of the weekend. Their fiddler, Allie Kral, has announced that this will be her last show as a member of Cornmeal. This band has been a staple at Summer Camp for almost a decade and many Scampers, like myself, have completely fallen in love Allie over the years. Even though this is not the last we will hear from Cornmeal or Allie, for that matter, this set is bound to be a tear jerker for many a fan.
This lineup contains at least a dozen other bands that make me dance, but in all honesty, I return to Summer Camp every year because I’m an Umphreak. Summer Camp provides 6 sets of Umph, a handful of side projects, plus sit-ins that make Memorial Day Weekend UMforgettable. My first Umphrey’s show was at Summer Camp in 2004, so I guess it is only perfect that I will be celebrating my 75th Umph show at Summer Camp 2013. I’m predicting a few new songs, maybe a new cover, and a ridiculous light rig that will bring facemelt to a whole other level. Prepare to get your minds blown people!
Now for my Sunday variety pack…..
Both electronic and jamband fans will enjoy the way DJnoDJ fuses these two genres by layering their talents in order to duplicate our most beloved tracks. If I still have enough fuel left in my tank early Monday morning, this is where you will find me.Needless to say, I can’t wait to experience Summer Camp as a CIT! I guess it’s my job to remind my fellow campers to be safe, stay hydrated, and see as much music as possible because this year’s lineup is INSANE! With that being said, hollar at your CIT if you see me around! I love making new friends, especially at Summer Camp!
Sorry I haven’t been on here in some months. I had some pretty big things going on in my life. But besides that, I just wanted to take a moment and remember a great Summer Camp neighbor Jay, in which my friend Joe, my man Adam, our friends, and I got to know at Summer Camp 2012 and we were looking forward to camping by him again in 2013. Luckily, my friends got to neighbor-up with him at Electric Forest a month after Scamp 2012. But unfortunately, Jay passed away in January. He was such a kind and sharing person and had the best hangout spot in our neighborhood at Scamp, and with the few days that I got to know him, he made it perfectly clear that he loved his dubstep, electronica music, and anyone he came in contact with. R.I.P. Jay buddy, we’ll rage it up this year in your memory! You showed me that Scamp neighbors are the best neighbors!
<3 your girl,
My general aversion to electronic music is well known. Although I have enjoyed a few forays into the genre at Summer Camp last year my general reaction is not usually positive. However, I’ve seen some electronic groups that play organically, as a unit, and the music is more textural than dubstep. These are the types of electronic artists I’m drawn to. Particle is one such band. They are one of those bands that hit early Summer Camp lineups for three years between 2003 and 2005. Those early shows were a lot of fun as was their performance of 80′s tunes at The Aggie.
Up first was New Orleans natives EarPhunk. These guys are the next generation behind the Galactics and the Dumpstphunks of The Big Easy. The fluidly blend jam and funk in a balanced way that makes it fun for the audience. They did get riff-y at times, but that’s to be expected from a younger band still developing their sound. They started their set to a sparsely filled room, which would eventually get about a third full. Overall their brand funk influenced jam won me over and will give me plenty of reason to give them another listen.
Having seen Particle for the first time around 2001 in a tiny bar in Iowa, I’ve watched this band grow and evolve over the years. The recent inclusion of former full-time guitarist into the mix certainly seems to have reinvigorated Particle. Their show at the Aggie was both hilarious and technically stunning. Let’s start with the hilarious.
Set 1: Sledgehammer, Funkytown, Let’s Go Crazy, Electric Avenue, Once In A Lifetime, Pump Up The Volume> Rockit> Material Girl> Pump Up The Jam, The Final Countdown> Money For Nothing, Safety Dance> Launchpad Outro, It Takes Two>
Wild Thing> It’s Tricky> Bust A Move, Don’t Forget About Me, You Can Call Me Al, Sweet Dreams
Encore: Paradise City, Eye Of The Tiger> Sun Mar 11 Outro
From the opening guitar line of “Sledgehammer” I was grinning from ear to ear. Particle has their specific smooth style of electronica, but their take on the music of the 1980’s was fairly straightforward and strangely accurate. The setlist screams of lightheartedness, but don’t be fooled they absolutely shredded these classics. None more so the massive “Pump Up The Volume’ lead run that featured an enormous version of “Pump Up The Jam.” It was like a big musical sandwich with wheat bread on the bottom and rye on top. Particle never shied away from intricate composed pieces such as “The Final Countdown.” Perhaps the silliest moment of the night came in the form of “Safety Dance.” They ended the set with their version of the Eurythmics version of a country song, “Sweet Dreams.” The massive encore included a nod to both Guns N’ Roses as well as Survivor. It was just an amusing and entertaining show all around. Combe killed the guitar adding a new and interesting layer to their sound overall. Molitz continues to be the musical focal point with the lockstep rhythm section of Gould and Pujalet holding it all in check. Here is Particle back to their old tricks, firing on all cylinders, and truly gelling on stage. I would definitely do it all again.
Hola fellow SCampers!!!
As we approach the weekend we have all been anxiously waiting for, I wanted to take a minute and give you guys a better idea of who I am and what I am going to bring to Summer Camp this year. First and foremost I want to introduce you to the people I am coming to SC with; two of the main people who you will see in my vblogs are dear, close friends of mine who actually introduced me to Summer Camp six years ago and have been there with me every year since, Derrick Lawless and Steve Bannister. Two super chill, awesome people who I met in college and am proud to say will be a part of my life for the rest of it. Come Summer Camp 2050 we will be there rockin’ it out like ever before. There are other friends of mine who are coming, Matt Weiler, Brian Buss, Christina Fountain, and Jake Kuykendall, (if you meet anyone of them, buy them a drink!) most of them are also friends from college who share the love for good music and good times.
One of the reasons that Summer Camp is the ULTIMATE most AMAZING festival is the line up. Every year I think to myself “man there’s no way this year’s line up is going to be as killer as last year’s” and every time I am proven wrong. I not only get to see the bands I already love and follow throughout the year; but there are always so many new bands that I fall in love with.
Some of this year the sets that I am looking forward to seeing for the first time are Gigantic Underground Conspiracy; an awesome compilation of artists from several bands who are sure to put on some jams you most certainly don’t want to miss. Tedeschi Trucks Band, I have always wanted to check them out and for some reason or another have never gotten the chance, with that kind of talent I know it’ll be an amazing show. Sun Stereo a sweet local Champaign-Urbana band with a distinct and fresh jazzy-rock feel, check them out in advance on facebook.
The bands that I have seen many a time before but cannot wait to check out are Lotus, went to their Halloween weekend show in Pittsburgh, PA this past year and it was out of this world good, if you haven’t checked them out – seriously it’s a show you don’t want to miss. Eoto is probably one of the bands I enjoy seeing live the most – they NEVER disappoint and manage to keep every show super fresh. Lastly can we say Talking Heads cover band? This Must be the Band is definitely one of those I gotta check out, can I put a request in? Let’s hear the Talking Heads song your band is named after =)
Alright so I have limited space and limited time and there are tons of bands I am dying to check out (like two bands not mentioned above who are among my all time favorite bands and who I get to see every year 3 days in a row ONLY at Summer Camp? that’s right…moe. and Umphrey’s), but I can’t talk about them all. So to let you know more about myself, I grew up on the Beatles, it led the way to harder rock and then jazz, such as Zeppelin and Dave Brubeck, and from there evolved further to include jam and electronic rock. I appreciate all artistry and talent, but I have a soft heart for drummers as I like to pretend I know how to jam on my used Evans drum set. I love Summer Camp for various reasons, but one of the main ones is that it was the first music festival of my life. Music has always had such an influential role in the essence of my being and there is no other festival that I feel as in touch with the tunes I love as SC. This is not your impersonal mob fest, you come to Summer Camp once and you feel like part of an extremely, extremely, large family forever.
On that note, for you first timers let me tell you some of the things I make sure to pack. For all you ladies, TP is a MUST. As glorious an experience as port-a-potties are, most of them run out of toilet paper and the best thing to do is be prepared, bring some and put a few squares (can you spare a square?) in your pocket. Next bring some trash bags, it is a privilege to use Three Sisters Park and we need to be responsible, have plenty of trash bags not just for garbage, but you never know what the weather could bring and you’d be surprised how dry one of those can keep you. Glow sticks are essential, not only do they add to the beautiful sea of lights at night on the main stage but they provide a great atmosphere for campsite hangouts. With all the great shows playing all the time, you are destined to catch some day shows and when the sun is strong some sun screen is essential! I have seen way too many people painfully red from neglecting to get their rub down, so SPF 50 it is! Finally, make sure to bring your crazy. This is a once in a lifetime experience to let go of everything that ties you down and let your true inner-self soar, so bring a happy spirit and leave your worries at home!
As your Summer Camp counselor I want you all to seek me out, let me make this your best Summer Camp yet. I want encompass the sweetness that is Summer Camp, and the only way I can do that is with your help. You fans are what keep SC alive and I want to show how we bridge the gap between the fans and the bands. Summer Camp is so much more that just music. It is about you living life; lets celebrate it.
I am going to promote some special Summer Camp spirit; my fellow moe.rons and I will be awarding fellow scampers that show special spirit throughout the festival. For example we will award the sweetest campsite, the person with the wildest outfit, the dude/dudette with the most innovative accessory or the neatest jam shout, and many many more; so let us join together and make this year the best Summer Camp EVER woop woop!!
SCampers for life!
Summer Camp Counselor Maria